How You Can Use the Lean Canvas When Starting a business

How can you transform your idea into an actual business? Going from idea to business is a challenge and honestly is what differentiates a wantrepreneur from an entrepreneur. One of the first steps for transforming your idea into a business is to be able to articulate your business model. This is where the Lean Canvas comes into play. The Lean Canvas is derived from the Business Model Canvas. The Lean Canvas is a 1-page business plan template created by Ash Maurya that helps you deconstruct your idea into its key assumptions. I use the Lean Canvas in two ways: the first one is to help me answer questions and see things that I don’t know or understand yet; the second way is to be able to put in writing my assumptions so I can communicate them with my team and/or test them down the road. Below I’ll go into more detail about how to use this tool to your advantage.

Know what you don’t know

I believe that what kills businesses is not knowing what they don’t know. How can that be? Simple. If you’re preparing to launch a business and know that your competitors are spending $200 per day in your target market, you may be prepared to invest $300 per day until you get enough traction. However, if you are not aware of that fact and do not invest enough, you will not see any traction on your new product and your business may perish. In my experience, when I’m thinking about a business and I don’t have enough background information on that industry, while filling out the Lean Canvas I get several questions that I cannot answer. Answering these questions is going to be crucial if I want to have a successful business. Once I can answer all my questions, I am going to be able to articulate the plan to future stakeholders.

Prevent Business Failure

Your business will fail if any of the following is true: you have a great product that no one wants to buy (no clear customer segment), you have a product that addresses a problem but doesn’t fix it (badly articulated problem), and/or you have a product that solves a problem and people want to buy but can’t articulate the benefits to the customer (value proposition). The Lean Canvas allows you to articulate, identify, test, and change these questions upfront before investing a penny into the business. When I was teaching entrepreneurship, most people could easily answer the solution box on the Lean Canvas but had a really hard time explaining the problem, identifying the customer segment, and articulating the value proposition. Answering these three boxes, I consider, are the most important part of the Lean Canvas. 

As a side note, a customer is someone that pays money for a product, not someone that likes a product. There’s a big difference! 

Articulate Your Mission

Having a clear compelling vision is going to be key to your success. You will need to sell your idea to future team members, investors, and (of course) customers. Having answers to all possible questions will allow you to be confident about your idea but, more importantly, show others that you have thought about everything and allow them to believe in your vision with the same passion that you do. 

The Lean Canvas helps you articulate your mission. After filling out the Lean Canvas, you will realize that you can see who your customers are, what problem they have, how will your product or service impact their lives, how your solution will look like, the ways in which you will make money, how you will measure that you’re on the right track, how you will reach your customers, and your costs along the way. These answers become the basis of your strategic plan.  

Next Steps

Like any plan, the Lean Canvas should be an evolving document. You start with what you know about the market, then you go and test your assumptions and modify the canvas based on what you learn. If you have read The Lean Startup, you will recognize the build-measure-learn cycle in action in this process. The idea is to be certain you know your risks, have validated your assumptions, and can confidently move forward when starting a business.

Entrepreneurial Journey Books

Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle and to excel on it you need to learn and unlearn many things. Below is a list of books that have helped me understand this lifestyle and how to make the most of it. I hope they can help you in your entrepreneurial journey.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow rich was originally published in 1937. Due to this, I originally thought the book was not going to be relevant when I first started reading it. However, after a few pages, you are going to understand why this book is so powerful. To me, it has two main takeaways: the first one is that you can train your mind to think about and attract success. The second, is that you are always going to be right about your entrepreneurial journey; that is, if you think you will succeed or fail, more than likely you will be correct in the outcome. 

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries 

Most people think about building something and people will come. Create a product and people will automatically come and use your product. That is far from the truth. Eric Ries does a great job in explaining the approach he used in creating a successful technology product. The main takeaway from this book is the build-measure-learn loop. Simply put, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. 

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

My original thought about this book was that it was not good. One time talking with someone about why they shouldn’t read it, it hit me; it is actually a very good book. The main thing you will learn from this book is to work on the business not in the business. To create a business is to create processes that others can follow and help you achieve your bigger mission.

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

While I’m not a fan of everything that Tim Ferriss says, once you read The E-Myth, you may be wondering how to make it happen. The 4-Hour Workweek has plenty of examples on how to make this happen. It opens your eyes to the gig economy, how you can participate in it and how to leverage your skills to take your business to the next level. 

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Once you have a business going. You’re going to find that you have to make many hard, sometimes impossible, decisions. The Hard Things About Hard Things draws from many years of experience to bring a collection of essays that can be exactly what you need to read/understand when facing tough times. 

One last thing, check out this video by Steve Jobs. You probably already know the lesson if you’re reading this post but it’s a short and very important reminder. 

Building trust and credibility

By: Farrah Pilling

Building trust and credibility is paramount for any website. We’ve all seen the trope of the sneaky watch salesman hidden in a dark alley wearing a trench-coat. Everything about this character type is meant to make you feel uneasy, and you can be sure that he is not really selling a Rolex. The lies are made clear to the audience in this case, but when browsing online it can be much tricker to know who to trust. Your business must maintain credible practices in order to gain and keep the confidence of your customers.

Five out of five stars

The easiest way to build credibility is by encouraging your users to review. Research shows as much as 88% of consumers believe that a positive review is equivalent to a recommendation from someone they know. Further, 72% say that excellent reviews contribute to their trust in a business. If a user bought your latest item and they loved it, you want them to share their opinions with others. The more positive reviews, the more likely others will follow suit to try your product out for themselves. Leaving reviews on your page helps your audience feel confident in their purchase and your company, while providing you with a reputation

If you find that your audience is not thrilled with their purchase, reviews can help promptly voice that opinion to you. Being a successful business means knowing how to respond to feedback, both good and bad. Treat negative feedback as a learning experience to improve your products and business. Don’t be afraid to reach out to those customers via your website to try to make things right, because it not only helps your clients but can help restore your reputation.

Amazon: Encouraging product feedback

Standing at number two on the Fortune 500 list for total revenue generated, Amazon is a giant in the world of e-commerce. Breaking down the numbers, they host over 5 million businesses worldwide, and 30% of Americans say they bought their most recent product from the site. A large portion of their continued success stems from their customers’ trust in the company and the products they sell. Purchasing online can be a gamble if going off the company depiction alone, but Amazon highly encourages customers to rate their purchases to help fellow shoppers and the businesses alike. Falling between one to five stars, products on amazon are reviewed by the thousands, meaning an excellent review is truly earned. In fact, 113,000,000 seller reviews have been submitted by customers in 2021 alone. If a recent buyer hasn’t rated their purchase within the first few days of receiving it, Amazon will send out a gentle reminder email to do so.  Overall, Amazon understands the power of opinions and embraces their audience’s feedback to make a better experience for all.

More than just numbers

Testimonials are another type of review use to build trust and credibility that can be beneficial for your business. Unlike a traditional rating system that is usually numeric, testimonials provide personal stories about customer’s experiences. For some, this has more weight than a regular review because of the depth of the information provided. Customers can specifically state their positive feelings and explain what makes your company stand out from the rest.

Case studies are a type of testimonial that serve to provide an in-depth description of your customer’s problem and how your company provided the solution. Their strength lies in the ability to capture your audience’s emotions by telling a story. The narrative entails the situation your business was invited to analyze and solve. When thinking about whether or not your business should incorporate case studies on your website, make sure it is specific and relevant to the industry you work in. 

Showing your customers what you can do

Another great way to showcase to your audience your business’s credibility is by providing a portfolio. Giving a preview of what you are capable of and the care you give to your customers is a great way to make them feel comfortable enough in a decision to do business with you. Portfolios are the vision of your skill sets as a company; show, don’t just tell your audience that you are the professional for the job. 

Build trust and credibility

As more and more business interactions take place online, it can be hard for consumers to know who to trust. By being open about your company and what you can provide, you can build trust and credibility and assure them that your products deserve their confidence. Allow your audience to honestly reach out about your strengths and weaknesses, because this interaction can not only help other potential customers but also help you grow and be better as well. In short, give your clients a reason to believe in you.

One of the reasons why we developed Further websites is to make it easier for your visitors to find your company and interact with it. We hope you take a minute and review our Further website next time you’re looking to improve your website.

Making your website convenient with a call to action

By: Farrah Pilling

What makes the best website? Some would argue a beautiful design, others the most up-to-date information. Ultimately, it’s a website that’s the most convenient. Any website can improve with proper call-to-actions.

The importance of convenience

Don’t believe us? Imagine you’ve just put your children to bed, you’re exhausted from a late night at work, and unfortunately your A/C isn’t working in the middle of a Florida summer. It’s nine o’clock at night and you need someone to fix it tomorrow morning, but you won’t be able to be home. You search online for “fast A/C repair” and glance at the recommendations, clicking on three websites that have the highest ratings.

The first website has a friendly picture of the family business on the homepage, stating their great customer service and testimonials from previous clients. You like supporting local businesses, but you decide to move on to the second website. They are currently advertising their low prices and you see their contact information clearly on the navigation bar. However, this isn’t helpful because it’s past business hours, and you won’t get a call back until you are already at work the next day. Finally, you click on the last website and immediately something catches your eye: “Book an Appointment Online.” You click and notice an opening for tomorrow morning at nine o’clock. Not only will they be here promptly but you won’t have to be present for the repair. You enter your information and confirm the appointment.

This story happened to our founder and CEO, David Flores. Out of all the companies he chose, he prioritized convenience over price or reviews

Providing direct solutions

Research shows that the average consumer only spends about 15 seconds on a website. When analyzing your own business, try to think about what is most convenient for your customers to make those vital seconds count. A call to action is the best place to start. Whether it’s to “schedule an appointment online,” “buy now,” or “contact us,” a call to action can bridge the gap between what is convenient for your audience and business success.

A call to action, or CTA, is something that web designers use to encourage consumers to react a certain way. It directs your audience towards a certain action such as buying a product, which both helps your business and aids your consumers. In the example above, the goal was to hire an A/C repairman for the next morning. By having a CTA button to “Book an Appointment Online,” one company provided a direct solution.

CTAs can aid in other ways than one. Not only do they deliver solutions for new customers, but they can provide convenience for existing customers as well. If we use the example above, the same button can give a returning customer a quick way to schedule a repair. Keeping current customers happy is just as important as creating new ones, and leads to a stronger, more profitable business. However, depending on your business, you can utilize multiple CTAs to encourage different actions

Walmart: Making the call-to-action count

Let’s take a look at Walmart, who is currently number one on the Fortune 500 list for total revenue generated. Their already successful company has skyrocketed as consumers demanded a new type of service amidst the global pandemic. How have they utilized CTAs for new and existing customers? 

When you first arrive on their homepage, you are greeted with a CTA encouraging you to “Shop now” for the latest school supplies. In the upper right-hand corner, returning customers can access their account, check their likes on items, and view their cart with separate buttons. There are also new options for pickup and delivery available via a “Start your order” button, a “Try it free” button for their Walmart+ shipping service, and the ability to “Learn how” to save 5% cashback with the Walmart credit card. All of this information is clear and available when you first arrive and makes the fifteen seconds consumers are willing to spend on a site extremely valuable.

Bridging the gap

When analyzing your website, remember: the difference between a pretty website and a successful website is convenience. Focus on making sure your website is catering to the direct needs of your consumers, and provides them with the ease and efficiency of utilizing it. Using CTAs will help drive your audience to engage with your platform while also giving them quick access to useful links. As both your business and customers evolve, make sure to bridge the gap between your service and their needs.

One of the reasons why we developed Further websites is to make it easier for your visitors to find your company and interact with it. We hope you take a minute and review our Further website next time you’re looking to improve your website.

Avoid Repetitive Tasks for Your Employees

Sometimes we hire people into a position and give them tools to make the work happen. While the person can do the job, it’s very likely that the way we are telling them how to do the job is time consuming or could be improved. 

Months later when we are doing a routine task with them, we may notice that the way they are building reports, collecting data, or going about a given task is time consuming. Obviously, we want to help them be more efficient in their work. A more efficient staff can increase their output and reduce costs, while making the person happier in the process. It’s a win-win situation. 

So, what are some ways we can make people spend less time collecting data and more time taking action?

When talking with different business owners, sometimes they are surprised at how easy it is to start the automation process. I believe the best way to go about automating different tasks is to cause as little disruption for the staff as possible. For instance, I’ve seen many people download data (either in CSV or Excel format) and use Excel to filter the data out. Assuming the process takes 25 minutes per day, we are talking about 2 hours a week consumed by  this task per person. That’s over 2 weeks a year of wasted effort! Not to mention that if the person leaves, someone else has to figure out how to make the report and they may miss some steps in the process, creating chaos and more wasted effort. The solution in this case may be an Excel macro. A macro is a programmatic way of telling Excel what to do with the data. We have used it with several clients and it’s an easy way to get started with automation. 

What if you’re not using Excel but your own system?

Another common scenario is people downloading data from one system to update another. You may have your sales representatives downloading sales data and giving it to some manager or a person in accounting to estimate commissions, for example. In this case, you need information on both systems but they don’t talk to each other. Nowadays, most cloud providers have marketplaces where you can find connections between the systems. I would recommend searching for that first. If there’s no connection between the systems, then you may want to consider building your own. Building your own connection is easy, creating streamlined communication between your systems. Your staff will no longer waste time doing that task and disruptions are eliminated. 

More complex needs

While the two methods I explained previously are good starting points to applying automation to your business, sometimes, companies have more complex needs. If your company is using several systems and it feels you have reached the limit, then it’s a good idea to think about building your own system. Your own system can connect to others while providing your employees with a clean user interface that reduces the time it takes them to accomplish tasks. Moreover, having your unique system allows you to think outside the box and improve other aspects of your offering. For instance, you may create a system where your employees execute tasks and provide visibility for  your customers to  access that information and even receive notifications about new activity. 

You are the solution, let us show you how

Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel comfortable coming to your office to tell you the company processes are inefficient and suggest solutions. Therefore, it’s upon us, the business leaders, to identify and help articulate the problem and empower employees to be part of the solution. If you think you have a process that’s not effective, I would love to brainstorm with you possible solutions. Let’s connect and start the process of improving your operations.  

An overview of how to leverage web technologies to achieve your marketing goals.

While many of us have become very familiar with apps to help us live through the pandemic, it begs the question, are we familiar with online tools to help us achieve our marketing goals?

This post is about the web technologies that can be used when planning an online marketing campaign. 

The beautiful thing about the internet is that it can give you all the answers you’re looking for. If you have an ad on Facebook, you can see how many people view it, interact with it, and how many people clicked on it. Moreover, you can then make changes based on this data to try to improve your post or ad. However, you need to have the right infrastructure to be able to take advantage of the internet to get there. The best way to ensure you’re leveraging the web to help you achieve your marketing goals is to make it part of your marketing campaign. 

Marketing and the web

Let’s start with a regular marketing campaign and how it relates to the web. A marketing campaign has 5 stages:

  1. Initiation
  2. Planning
  3. Development
  4. Execution
  5. Close-out



In the initiation step of the marketing campaign, you will establish the campaign goals. Example goals could be:

  • Increase Visits by X%
  • Increase Leads by X%
  • Increase Email Subscribers by X%
  • Increase Conversion Rates by X%
  • Increase Marketing Qualified Leads
  • Increase Sales Qualified Leads

Make sure you make your goals are SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Once you have your goals, you will notice that you have certain requirements. For example, if your goal is to increase the visits to your website by 10% compared to the prior quarter, you need to make sure you are tracking website visitors the quarter before the marketing campaign starts. 



Once your campaign is approved and goals are set. It’s time to start gathering the information you need to make this a reality. After the planning is complete, you should know which channels you will be using and what type of content you need for each one.

For example, your marketing campaign may dictate that you contact your target market in different ways such as:

  • Social media
  • Inbound marketing (Search engine optimization)
  • Search engine marketing

Contacting your market via social media will change depending on the platform. If you’re using Twitter, you will want to insert your company into the conversation by being aware of relevant hashtags for your target audience. However, if you’re on Facebook, you may try an approach that is more about posting in groups that are relevant to your audience or creating memes that will get people’s attention. 

Inbound marketing is all about long tail keywords. According to Wordstream, Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point-of-purchase or when they’re using voice search. You will want to be a master of these keywords and create relevant content that will make your target audience visit your site. Ideally, your lead will submit their information and/or a sale will be made after the visit.

Search engine marketing involves paying a search engine like Google or Bing to appear on the search results. Because many people advertise online, search engines need to decide which ad to show based on keywords. Knowing about SEM will help you be the first result when you’re paying the search engines for advertising.

Next, you will need to decide what assets need to be created for this campaign. You may find that you need the following for your campaign:

  • Content
  • Landing page(s)
  • Blog posts
  • Social media posts
  • Email newsletters
  • Email sequences

It’s generally best to first create the main content since you can derive other content from it. Like social media posts or landing page content.

Here are some tools that can help you depending on your type of content needs:

If your campaign includes blogs:

What you want to do with these tools, is to find relevant topics that your audience will want to read. For example, you may find a new trend using Google Trends and then use SEMRush or BuzzSumo to find the articles that are already written about that topic and then decide what your articles can be about to differentiate yourself. 

If your campaign includes social media outreach:

Likewise, with social media, you want to interact with your audience. Finding the relevant hashtags for your brand may help you hone down on the message or engage with a public looking for your product or service. Moreover, tools like Sprout Social and Hootsuite allow you to listen for mentions in social media about your brand. This allows you to quickly respond to comments and ensure great customer service or even get someone into your sales funnel quicker. 

If your campaign includes FB ads:

From the Facebook Audience Insights page, Facebook Audience Insights was designed to help marketers learn more about their target audiences, including aggregate information about geography, demographics, purchase behavior and more. For example, say you want to raise awareness for your women’s luxury fashion brand, and you sell your products in-store. You’d want to know how many people on Facebook live near your stores, as well as their interests, their past purchase behavior and how they tend to shop (online vs. in-store). Using Audience Insights, you can get aggregate and anonymous information such as:

  • Demographics — Age and gender, lifestyle, education, relationship status, job role and household size
  • Page likes — The top Pages people like in different categories, like women’s apparel or sports
  • Location and language — Where do people live, and what languages do they speak
  • Facebook usage — How frequently are people in your target audience logging onto Facebook and what device(s) they are using when they login
  • Purchases activity — Past purchase behavior (i.e. heavy buyers of women’s apparel) and purchase methods (i.e., in-store, online)

And you can view this information for three different groups of people:

  • People on Facebook (the general Facebook audience)
  • People connected to your Page or event
  • People in Custom Audiences you’ve already created (an audience made up of your current customers)

Audience Insights is different from Page Insights because it looks at trends about your current or potential customers across Facebook, whereas Page Insights looks at the interactions with your Page (i.e., likes, comments and shares).

If your campaign includes online ads:

You can use the same tools for content planning to create ads that people will click on. The great thing about Google Keyword Planner is that it’s using data from Google Adwords so it’s going to be very useful when understanding the different types of keywords that can be used for the same phrase. For example, you may have different results when adding in your ad “We services the Gainesville community” versus “We service you locally”. The Google Keyword Planner would help you choose the best keyword by giving insights into how likely each one is to convert.



No doubt that development is going to be the longest part of your campaign planning process. You need to prepare and coordinate with multiple people in your company or even several outside vendors and ensure everything is ready to go by the due date. It is important to remember that while everything has to be functional, you also need to be tracking engagement to be able to generate the final report and optimize the campaign. Among the things that would need to be done are: the design or the campaign, digital assets for the ads, social media postings, blogs posts, newsletters, etc. 

Web pages will have to be created as well. Keep in mind that it is not enough to have a website that works. Code will have to be installed to track visitors to the site, to track Facebook users, and to create retargeting audiences. Some of the code will need to be triggered on every page load, while other code only gets triggered based on different conditions. 

If you have content pages, make sure they are all connected and that you have a clear pilar page for SEO purposes. 

If you have a landing page, chances are you need someone to fill out a form to receive some lead magnet. Something to take into consideration is where will the subscriber information be sent to? Do you need it to be sent to a CRM? Or maybe a newsletter service? Perhaps a remarketing list? Sometimes is to one of these services, oftentimes to all of them. Automation of these sorts of tasks is very useful and will allow your team to be focused on high level tasks rather than mundane ones. 

Now that you have a website or web pages, it is time to optimize it. It is not enough for your page to load. Google has strict standards on what they consider a good page. These standards ensure people have a good user experience while online. For instance, if your page is not mobile friendly, Google will likely not show it for users navigating from their cellphones. The problem with this is that over 60% of searches are being initiated on smartphones. Then, you need to consider page speed. If a page takes over 3 seconds to load, Google categorizes it as a slow page and will penalize your ranking. This can affect the position of your ad. If you’re running an ad on Google AdWords and your landing page is slow to load, Google may not show your ad in a good position. Even if you’re paying them to do so!

Tools like Pagespeed Insights and Webmaster tools help understand how Google view our sites. To understand how your users navigate your site, you can use mouse tracking tools such as Hotjar. With Hotjar you can see how long someone was on your website, how far down they scroll in your site, how their mouse moved, and more! Gathering this information will help you optimize your page so that more people convert into customers. 

Other experiments you can do before launch are A/B test experiments. A/B testing (also known as split testing) is the process of comparing two versions of a web page, email, or other marketing asset and measuring the difference in performance. You do this giving one version to one group and the other version to another group. Then you can see how each variation performs. The great thing about doing this type of testing is that you can better understand your visitors and make it easier for them to accomplish their desired action, which will eventually help your bottom line. Tools to help with optimization are Google’s Optimize, Optimizely, and Crazyegg

Once all this work is done, don’t forget to set-up and schedule your different campaigns in your different platforms.


When a campaign is active, you want to monitor and track results. I have encountered customers in the past that have trouble understanding when or if a sale is made. Oftentimes this happens on bigger companies with different departments and different systems. If you’re in that position, it’s a good idea to integrate the different systems that are part of your campaign. For instance, a business development center may mark a customer sale on their system but not let the marketing department know that the customer converted. As a marketing professional, this would create a problem. A simpler version of this happens with AdWords. You may want to track which keywords are converting versus the ones that make people click but not convert. If you don’t install the AdWords code correctly on your website, you may not be able to tell. 

Make sure that you know which metrics are going to be important before launch and that you have a way of getting the data to calculate those very important metrics. 

Close out


In the close-out stage of your marketing campaign, you want to generate a report, update your marketing knowledge base and archive all assets and documents that were used in it.


Now that we have covered all that is entailed in making a marketing campaign on the web, I want to take a moment to go over how Onward Development can help in this process. 

As you noticed, building the different websites or web pages for a marketing campaign, requires a certain level of expertise. To this extent we have created a new product called Further Websites. Further websites are designed to be created with a quick turnaround time, they are optimized to be found by search engines and load fast. More importantly, we work with you so you don’t have to spend time learning how to code or figuring out how a template works to tweak it. 

Another product we have is Fuse Integrations. Fuse connects your different systems so information is always up-to-date. With Fuse, you can send information from your CRM to your marketing software if they have an API. For example, we have customers that deal with one software for candidate tracking and with a vendor for background checks. They need to be able to send a candidate to this other system and receive the results of the background check. If the systems were not connected, the HR person would have to do a manual process twice for each candidate they are considering. Fuse connects these systems so all the information goes back and forth between them and the HR person can save time. 

Finally, we offer custom software development. Custom software is built based on your business needs to solve your business problems. It can be a combination of things; for instance, a platform where users can register, receive a sequence of emails, then be able to pay online for your service or product. Meanwhile the information about this user can be sent over to other systems such as your CRM or any other database. 
If anyone here has thought about creating a new website, redesigning an existing one, integrating two systems, or creating a custom software or mobile app for their business, please contact us and let’s schedule a time to talk about your goals and how we can help you.

How to improve your home health website

Growing your home health website not only grows your business, it also leads to more people cared for, and more jobs for caregivers. But how do you do it?

While every business is different, there are a few key elements that make incremental growth attainable, measurable, and sustainable for any home health agency. 

These days, most people visit a website to learn more about their services before inquiring or scheduling care. A strong digital presence and quality sales tools will grow your home health business while maintaining ADA and HIPAA compliance, attracting quality caregivers, and increasing the number of clients who start personal care services.

Is Your Agency’s Website Ready to Grow?

Feeling ready to grow and being prepared to grow can be vastly different things. Your drive and readiness to build your agency are absolutely essential for growth, but it’s imperative you have the right tools in place to facilitate sustainable growth. 

In an eye-opening analysis of over 200 home health agencies websites, our research revealed that only 72% have clear contact information listed on their website. And a staggering 83% don’t have a way to self-schedule appointments online at all. Even if a potential lead is highly motivated to request care, they might not know how to schedule a visit or reach your customer service team with your current website.

A professional website with clear information, intuitive navigation, and good search engine optimization will lay the foundation for more successful outbound communication, sales conversations, and highly satisfied clients.

So, are you ready to improve your home health website?

Click on the links below as we go deeper into what to consider to improve your website so patients, caretakers, and candidates can find you online easily. 

Download our white paper, “How to Grow Your Home Health Care Agency” now.

Download now

Improve your home health website with clear information, calls to action, & easy navigation

How speed affects your home care website design

Why your home health website design should be mobile friendly

Tools for home health website sales

Bonus: 6 Tactics to Grow Your Home Health Agency

6 Tactics to Grow Your Home Health Agency

This post is part of our series on how to improve home health care websites. You can view all the topics on the How to improve your home health website blog post.

Growing your home health agency is an excellent way to contribute to your community. You’ll simultaneously create new jobs for nurses and caregivers while providing care to those in need. 

While there’s no secret recipe to achieve instant business growth, there are tactics you can use to drive traffic to your website, increase consideration of your services, and systematically increase the list of patients you serve. 

There’s a lot of competition in the home health care industry, but the right business tactics can help you grow your business, serve your community, and emerge as an industry leader.

Begin Growing Your Agency With These 6 Digital Tactics

Whether you’re starting a new home health care agency or looking to build on your existing company’s success, rapid and sustainable growth are possible with the right tools and tactics. 

Your digital properties including your website, app, and social media pages can be designed and used to help your agency stand out from the crowd and take your business to the next level. 

#1 Social Media

90.4% of Millennials, 77.5% of Generation Xers, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers are active social media users. The average person spends about 3 hours a day on platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. If you’re not using social media to reach your audience, you could be missing out on the opportunity to reach thousands of potential patients, nurses, and caregivers.

The key to effective social media marketing and engagement is taking the time to understand your audience, which platforms they frequent, and regularly posting content that resonates with them. If your posts aren’t driving much engagement now, try sticking to a regular posting schedule and varying the types of content you post.

Since 40% of people 65 years and older use Facebook regularly to see pictures of their grandkids, reconnect with old friends, read news, and find activities and events taking place in their community, you might consider starting with your Facebook page before moving on to other social networks.

Not sure what to post? Here are some ideas:

  • Local events
  • Patient testimonials
  • Activities for seniors
  • New patient webinars
  • Health & nutrition information
  • Updates to your app & website
  • Exercises for those with limited mobility
  • Live interviews with nurses & caretakers

Social media channels are ripe for building strong communities where people engage regularly, give feedback, and become loyal customers. Direct social media communication can be approached much like in-person networking where you engage in conversation, build trust, answer questions, and share valuable information. 

When people respond to your posts or reach out with a question in social media, be personable in your response just like you would if they were to walk into your office.

Use their name to show they have your attention.

Address their question/comment before sharing more information about your home health care agency.

Share information and resources to help them understand their options.

Type out answers in addition to directing them to a page on your website.

Respond privately if personal information is needed.

Tip: Start with one social media account and invest your time and energy there instead of spreading yourself thin across all the channels at one time. Once you’ve established yourself on one you can begin adding others. 

#2 Website

Every home health care agency absolutely needs a website to attract new patients and caregivers, but it’s not enough to just have a pretty homepage. 

There is a lot that goes into designing and developing the experience a website provides to craft an attractive website that is easy to find, easy to use, and effective at driving new appointments.

In fact, 73% of companies invest in professional website design to help their home health care agency stand out from competitors. Does yours stand out?

Your website should be:

Fast! Studies show that you only have 3 seconds to make a first impression as 40% of visitors will leave your website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. A web development team can help you optimize your site to make it load faster.

On Brand. A website that’s consistent with your brand image and personality is much more effective that one that just looks nice. A well-branded website builds brand recognition and helps your home health care agency stand out from competition. Make sure to provide your web development team the branding assets they need to align your logo, colors, graphics, and voice across your website and app.

Search Engine Optimized. When a customer searches “home health care agency” in Google, you want your company to be at the top of that list. For that to happen, you need to optimize your website. Search engines look for many pages of relevant content that use the keywords customers are searching for. Your chosen web development team can help you manage the technical elements including, meta tags, title pages, image tags, and an updated business directory listing. 

Mobile Optimized. 63% of home health care service searches begin on mobile devices including smartphones and tablets so it’s essential your website is optimized for these smaller screens. That might mean adjusting the text and image sizes on your existing website or designing an improved experience for mobile visitors including a collapsed menu or forms with fewer fields to complete.

Educational & Informative. Quality content that is relevant to customers will help improve your website’s SEO and establish your agency as a thought leader in the home health care industry. Use a variety of content to appeal to your audience including, photos, videos, blog posts, and FAQs. The more types of content, the more appealing you are to a varied audience. 

Tip: Include images, videos, and blog posts that showcase positive reviews and testimonials to build trust with those who want to learn more about your home health care agency. 

#3 Live Chat

Live chat has become the top support channel of choice for many potential patients. In fact,  41% of consumers prefer live chat support over any other customer service method. More importantly, the home health care industry is just starting to dip their toes into this highly effective tool, which means that any business using it will stand out. 

Live chat, also called live support or chatbot, allows your business to have a real-time text conversation online with visitors to your website. The purpose is to allow a person to get immediate help, whether they have a question or would like to make an appointment. 

Commonly found on retail websites, live chat is an innovative and powerful tool for a growing home health care agency. 

How to Choose a Live Chat Tool

Choosing a reliable live chat tool is essential for success. While you can find live chat website plugins, a professional web development team will help you design, implement and even manage an intricate and beneficial live chat system. 

If you’re ready to add a live chat tool to your website, consider these questions to help your chosen developer implement the best solution for your home health care agency.

Questions to consider:

  1. Should your live chat work on smartphones and tablets?
  2. Is your team ready to answer online questions in real time?
  3. Should live chat be available 24/7 or just during business hours?
  4. Would you like the ability to proactively reach out to your website visitors?
  5. Are you interested in automatically saving chat records and/or collecting data?
  6. Would you like to integrate it into your customer management and/or marketing software?

If you’d like your live chat tool to work around the clock, you’ll need to either have a customer service team that can respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or an automated response system. This is where hiring a web development team can make a big difference.

If you don’t have the staff to respond in real-time, a web developer can design your live chat tool to immediately respond to frequently asked questions, schedule appointments, and update profile information like a new address or phone number. Your automatic responses can be programmed to run 24/7 or just during the hours your customer service team is unavailable, like nights and weekends.

Modern live chat systems can also empower your home health care agency to initiate new conversations. For example, if a customer has visited multiple pages on your website pertaining to companion care, the live chat tool can alert your team to strike up a conversation. Simply reaching out to inquire about the care needed can give them the push they need to schedule appointments. 

Offering live chat on your website will help improve the customer service experience your home health care agency provides, which will also set the tone for the quality of care a patient can expect to receive. As 56% of people admit they have stopped doing business with a company following a poor customer service experience, it’s essential your live chat tool is configured to offer excellent and reliable service.

Tip: If you implement live chat on your website, make sure that there is someone monitoring responses regularly to get the full customer support benefits. If you don’t have someone on your team who can manage it, there are 3rd party teams available to help. Ask your web developer to recommend a reliable team.

Download our white paper, “How to Grow Your Home Health Care Agency” now.

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#4 Online Appointment Scheduling

What’s the most important factor that influences a patient’s decision making when scheduling an appointment? 

51.3% of patients say convenience and access to appointment scheduling is the single most important factor. Online appointment scheduling makes it easy for new and existing patients to book care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week while also reducing the administrative tasks your team is involved in and providing a better experience for everyone involved.

Online scheduling can also be extremely beneficial to patients interested in scheduling multiple appointments and people who schedule care for their loved ones. It’s especially beneficial to those who may be hard of hearing and have trouble making appointments over the phone.

From a caregiver’s perspective, online scheduling also helps them streamline their daily schedules by allowing them to schedule based on their patient’s proximity to other appointments that day. 

As digital resources, like online scheduling, become more prevalent in the health care industry, patients are beginning to prefer the ease and convenience of using these systems. Without an online scheduling tool, you may be losing out on new patients who would prefer to book online or don’t have time to call during normal business hours. 

Tip: When looking to add an online scheduling system, talk to a web development team that specializes in home health care websites and apps. They can help you incorporate new online scheduling tools that include automated appointment reminders to help reduce no shows and late cancellations.

#5 Landing Pages

Another aspect of your web development should be the addition of landing pages. Your core website will have a lot of information, but landing pages allow you to target messages and improve interactions to achieve a specific goal such as scheduling in-home care following a surgery.

Landing pages are especially important if you invest in advertising. When advertising, associated landing pages should encourage viewers to do something very specific like schedule a consultation or download a brochure. 

Landing pages can help drive traffic and improve SEO, but most of all, businesses use landing pages to generate new interest. In fact, 48% of marketers build a new landing page for each unique marketing campaign. 

Tip: For an exceptionally effective landing page, make sure you work with your chosen developer to zero-in on the offer and focus on what you want people to accomplish. Remove any distractions or additional links.

#6 Mobile App

It might seem like a huge undertaking to consider building an app specifically for your home health care agency, but the ROI is definitely there for an app done right. By the year 2022, there will be 258 billion mobile app downloads, many home health care agency apps to improve access to care. Will yours be one of them? 

An app can help your home health care agency:

Enhance the patient experience. Mobile apps are specifically designed for smaller screen sizes, so it’s easier and simpler for users to schedule appointments and set up automated medication alerts.

Provide easier access. Unlike your website, an app is always visible on a person’s screen so your services remain on their mind. Mobile apps can often be designed to open faster with a simplified experience to target specific needs such as accessing upcoming appointments.

Offer better care. Apps allow home health care agencies to have a direct relationship with customers by enabling communication wherever they are. Your app can be built to send push notifications reminding users of upcoming appointments, medication schedules, or test results.

Increase caregiver efficiency. Your app can be designed to make it easier for nurses and caregivers to self-select new patients, input care notes, get appointment reminders, access critical patient information, and get driving directions on the go.

Streamline operations. Apps can automate routine processes and improve workflows by tracking completed appointments and sending details straight to your payroll department to eliminate extra paperwork and processing time.

Tip: Work with your chosen website development team to ensure your app is worth downloading and offers the features that will help your home health care agency grow.

Get Ready to Grow Your Home Health Care Agency!

Growing your home health care agency can be done systematically with the right blend of innovative digital tactics and strategic marketing.

At Onward Development, we understand the importance of embracing digital technology to improve the patient experience, increase appointment bookings, encourage repeated use, and build brand loyalty and trust. As patient expectations grow, we’re here to help you take advantage of this prime opportunity to get ahead of your competition and grow your home health care business with a website and/or app. 

Want to learn more ways you can encourage your home health care agency’s growth? 

Download our white paper, “How to Grow Your Home Health Care Agency” now.

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Why your home health website design should be mobile friendly

This post is part of our series on how to improve your home health website design. You can view all the topics on the How to improve your home health website blog post.

Did you know that 63% of home health service searches begin on mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets? This is why it is imperative your home health website design works on all devices, particularly on smartphones. 

While most websites will display on mobile devices, a website designed for smaller smartphone and tablet screens provides a much better user experience. Before smartphones, websites were designed to a fixed size to display properly on a standard computer screen. 

Today, devices are built in a wide range of screen sizes and websites need to be designed to fit a variety of viewports (the area of a website that can be seen on a smartphone, tablet, or computer). 

That means all images, text, and tools used on your website need to fit 6.1” iPhone 11 screens, 6.8” Samsung Galaxy Note Plus screens, 10.2” iPad screens, 12.3” Surface Pro 7 screens, 21.5” iMac screens, etc. It’s important all images and your website’s viewport are optimized for these mobile devices, fonts aren’t too big or too small for the viewport, and the website layout adapts to fit all screen sizes.

In addition to building mobile-friendly websites, developers pay close attention to how long it takes for pages on your website to load on different mobile devices. If your website is difficult to navigate or takes forever to load, visitors may become frustrated and even take their business to a competing agency without giving yours another thought.

Common problems with a website’s mobile experience include:

  • Slow load time
  • Poor formatting
  • Difficult navigation
  • Broken or missing images/text

Google works hard to provide its users the best possible experience and will actually penalize a website by knocking it down in search results if it does not display well on mobile devices. 

According to Backlinko, a website that shows first in Google search results averages 31.7% clicks while a second page search result averages out considerably lower at 0.78%. That means no matter how great your website is, a poor mobile display can cost you your first page search result even if the search was specifically for your agency’s name! A subpar mobile website can even bump a competing agency with a mobile-friendly website up above your listing in search.

The good news is, it’s possible to add a mobile version to your existing home health website design or build a new website that displays equally across all screen sizes.

Download our white paper, “How to Grow Your Home Health Care Agency” now.

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Tools for home health website sales

This post is part of our series on how to improve your home health website. You can view all the topics on the How to improve your home health website blog post.

As more and more new inquiries begin online, it’s important you have effective sales tools built into your website to truly grow your home health agency.

For example, what are your current options if a website visitor has a question about medication pickup and delivery services? Can they call your phone number directly? What if they are hard of hearing? Can they email or do you provide a contact form?

Chat windows are growing in popularity for their ability to quickly provide answers to commonly asked questions and offer personalized support. According to author and influencer, Neil Patel, about 79% of people use live chat when it’s offered on a website and 57% actually prefer to use it over other communication when making decisions about using your services. Simply adding live chat functionality to your website has the power to increase conversions by as much as 45%.

Live chat windows can be set up as a live connection to one of your customer service representatives in addition to existing phone support. They can also be programmed to automatically provide scripted support to help visitors feel valued and heard during their decision making process.

Another excellent sales tool to add to your website is a self-service appointment setting tool for consultations and services. These make it easier for patients to schedule care on their own time and take control of their health. Adding appointment setting tools can help decrease the time your team spends on the phone and increase the quality of customer service provided.

If you do any digital advertising or manage a social media presence and don’t need to adhere to HIPAA compliance, you might also consider adding a Facebook pixel and/or re-targeting tracking code to your website for better success. These simple additions to your website’s code help advertisers better target your audience and display your ads to the right people. This, in turn, makes your advertising campaigns more effective and can be instrumental in growing your home health business.

Download our white paper, “How to Grow Your Home Health Care Agency” now.

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